Patchou's Cabana

The personal blog of Patchou

Released: Media Center Themer 1.40

A new version of Media Center Themer has been released. Version 1.40 brings in lots of improvements such as string replacements, reorganization of menus, and the possibility to add your very own menu items to launch custom programs or display web pages inside Media Center. You can download the new version right away from the usual web page, see below for a full list of changes.

Media Center Themer is a lightweight add-on that lets you completely customize the interface of Media Center. Modify text colors and other formatting attributes, pictures, MCML interfaces, and automatically re-colorize most of the built-in pictures with a single setting (say goodbye to the original blue theme). All of it is done in memory, without modifying a single resource file on disk, preventing screws up and the reversal of changes during software updates. and yes, it’s entirely free to use.

 

Change log from version 1.30 to 1.40:

  • The <TextFormat> element has been modified to include <LegacyText>  sub-elements in addition to <Text>. They now replace the old <Legacy> and <String> elements for better organization (see the updated schema).
  • MCML resource files (mcml and xml extensions) are now modified when extracted to look properly formatted when viewed in any text editor (identation and line breaks).
  • The new <Resources>\<Strings> element can be used to replace any of the text displayed by Media Center, such as menu labels and titles.
  • A new <StartMenu> element has been added. Its <Builtin> element can be used to reorder or hide menus and sub-menus in Media Center’s start menu.
  • The new <Custom> element of <StartMenu> allows for the creation of a custom menu strip with user-defined menu items to launch programs or display web pages.
  • Command line parameters can now be used instead of some registry settings. See the updated documentation for more details.
  • The documentation has been updated new sections have been added to it for the new features.
  • The setup is now copied to Program Files and an uninstall entry is added in Windows’ Control Panel to easily uninstall the application.
  • The setup now creates shortcuts in the Start Menu of Windows.
  • Fixed: the first resource loaded in each DLL was not taken into consideration. This could prevent important files, such as CommonStyles.xml to be logged or replaced.

Media Center Themer 1.30

Media Center Themer - New Colorization Feature

A new version of Media Center Themer is now available on the usual page. Among the updates, a new Auto-Colorize feature has been added to greatly simplify the creation of themes using all sorts of colors other than the default blue. With the new “Colorize” XML attribute, the software now automatically changes the color of more than 300 Media Center pictures (buttons, overlays, …), allowing you to concentrate on more important stuff. You’ll find all the information you need in the new “Change the Pictures” section of the documentation.

Media Center Themer Documentation

Here is the documentation of Media Center Themer. These topics are for reference only and should be read in the order specified in this page. For a more complete, more up to date documentation, you should read the MediaCenterThemer Help.chm file distributed with the software.

Get Started

How to Use Media Center Themer

New Theme & Text Formatting 

Logging and Settings

Change the Pictures

Complete your Theme

Personalize every Label

Reorganize the Menu

Modify the User-Interface

Additional Resources

Samples

Schema’s Documentation – Only available in the help file of the software.

 

Released: Media Center Themer 1.20

A new version of Media Center Themer has been released! you can download it now on this page.

With version 1.20, you don’t need any other program anymore. Everything, from pictures, to text to more advanced windows structure changes can now be done in Media Center using a single tool. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that the background picture was replaced, the music library thumbnail was modified, the text color was changed from white to dark blue, and the UI was modified to display the complete date in the top right corner, including day of the week. This sample was created in a couple of minutes, it’s now up to you to customize your own Media Center interface any way you want!

What’s new in Media Center Themer 1.20? (download)

  • Added new <Resources> element in the schema file.
  • The pictures used by Media Center can now be replaced.
  • Advanced users can now modify the user-interface structure files (MCML) of Media Center.
  • A new “LogResources” registry setting now allows for automatic extraction of pictures and user-interface resources.
  • Fixed: the uninstaller displays an error if user-created files still exist.
  • The documentation has been updated to include information on the new resource replacement features.

Released: Media Center Themer

I’ve been a Media Center enthusiast for about a year now. It’s been a long time since I wanted to really give it a try and so far, I’ve been very pleased by the quality of this software and the amazing things you can do with it. One particular thing I’ve enjoyed doing recently is theming the interface so that it better fits with the rest of my home (I’m planning to run MC on a couple of HP Slate 500 stuck to the walls). While replacing images in the resources though, I kept on having issues with text coloring, especially with add-ons I use such as My Movies, Heatwave or DVBLink By default, those add-ons do not use the colors specified inside Media Center’s resources and with the release of Windows 7 SP1, the colors I wanted to customize in Media Center itself don’t even seem to work anymore when modified in the resource DLLs.

For all those reasons, I’ve developed and released a new software called Media Center Themer. It’s still pretty new and doesn’t do much but for anybody wanting to change the aspect of the text in their Media Center’s windows, including the text of most add-ons available, it should serve some purpose :). You can download the software, for free, in the projects section of this web site. All comments are welcomed :-).

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